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It is generally understood that this expression of 'placing one's hand under the thigh' is an euphemism that required the subordinate (in these instances, a servant & a son), to place their hand near the procreative organ of the one initiating an oath. Therefore, this was no ordinary promise to do something, but signified making an unbroken pledge of obedience, come what may. With Eliezer, he had to find a spouse for Isaac, but if she or her family refused to release her, then the servant would be freed from his oath. And with Joseph, he was placed under oath not to bury his father Jacob (Israel) in Egypt but in Canaan.
Though we might find that such an act of placing ones hand under the thigh amusing or uncalled for, it signified to both the one requiring the oath & the one making the oath, before God, that what was promised will not be reneged on.
Thanks again. One thing my husband and I always remember is that God did bring us together, so in the rough times, how can we throw away what God has put together? We are keenly aware that we hold the other's future hopes and dreams in our hands by our choice to stay true to our commitment made on our wedding day. To break that and leave the marriage is to chose to shatter and steal away this future from the other person. We chose the way of "loving the other as myself" approach even when life is challenging. And besides, there really isn't anyone else so suited for each other than we are.
I became a great, great aunt 7 years ago. That makes me feel old, and I am not yet a grandmother! HaHa.
I thank you for reading my thoughts as I think "outloud" as I write about these chapters. It is good to have feedback and know that another is walking along with me in this endeavor. Most of the postings on the chapters are past being able to reply to, so I hope there will be others beginning their journey to interact with as well.
As well, I can identify with the 'one generation removed'. I thought becoming a grand-uncle at age 40 yrs was good going, until I read of your brother being an uncle at age 6. I'm sure he's never let his nephews/nieces forget that one!
Back to the text. After the long journey the caravan approached where Isaac and Abraham lived. Glad to read that Isaac was alone meditating. What was he thinking about? Perhaps on the promises and covenant that God had made with his father and praying about its fulfilment when the servant returned. He was probably hoping the servant returned with someone suitable to be his wife. He may have been praying about becoming a good husband like his father. He may have been preparing himself for the arrival of his bride. As the caravan approached they glimpsed each other. Upon inquiring who Isaac was, Rebekah covered her face with a veil, which was probably customary until two betrothed people were married. Even so, from the moment they saw each other, God caused a love for each other to be born in each of them. That is amazing! My husband and I have been married 42 years and it wasn't love at first sight. We were in college and had an opportunity to get to know one another before we got serious. He loved me first and God created a love in my heart for him after that. He waited for God to grow that love in me for him. He could have looked elsewhere, but waited for me. We're blessed.
Rebekah turned out to be a very gracious and kind woman. She answered all of the servant's requests with hospitality. Her family was welcoming. It was interesting that they did not inquire much about Abraham. They may not have known much about Abraham's calling as this may have been one of the few contacts they had concerning their relative. They were willing to have Rebekah be Isaac's wife, but wanted more time with her. They hadn't woken up that day thinking that Rebekah would leave to marry that day. They asked Rebekah, which they probably did not have to do, as marriages may have been decided between the men of the household. She was ready to go right away. Who knows how God had guided and stirred her heart that day to agree to leave her family, whom she obviously loved, and go to a far away place and perhaps never see her family again. Her grandmother, Milcah, Haran's daughter and Nahor's wife was still alive and lived with her son, Bethual and wife, and granddaughter Rebekah. She had grown up with Abraham, being in his generation. She was probably very happy that her daughter would become part of her cousin's family, since her father had died so long ago. Nahor must have also died, as he is not mentioned and the city was named after him. The family recognized this event as being from the Lord. Good to know that they still believed. Laban, Rebekah's brother will later become father-in-law to Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebekah. So Jacob and his wives would be third cousins one generation removed, I believe. Bethuel and Isaac were first cousins
As a college professor, one of the most common conversations I have with my students is about God's will. How does He reveal His leading to us? In Abraham's advanced years, his primary concern became a wife for Isaac. Only through Isaac's marriage and fatherhood would God's covenant continue, so Abraham gave his chief servant specific instructions on how to find the right woman.
When the servant came to Nahor, he stopped by a well with his ten camels, and in prayer, he devised a unique method for discovering God's will. He would administer a test. The servant would ask a girl for a drink, and if she offered to water his camels too, then she would be "the one." Before he had even finished praying, Rebekah arrived (v. 15). The servant noticed her beauty and immediately asked Rebekah for a drink. She offered one without hesitation. Then she offered to water his camels as well. Her jug was 3 gallons or so in capacity. Since a thirsty camel can drink 25-40 gallons, Rebekah had to fill her jug about 130 times! The servant could add "hard worker" and "servant spirit" to her qualities.
The servant watched her intently, praying for internal confirmation for his external observations. He clearly received the assurance he sought because, when Rebekah finished, he gave her costly gifts and asked about her family (vv. 22-23). Upon hearing that she was Abraham's close relative, the servant worshiped the Lord. The servant's visit with Rebekah's family served as further confirmation, as did Rebekah's willingness to go immediately-even when her family asked for ten more days together.
>> The process of discerning God's will involves prayerful assessment of our circumstances and motivations. We should ask God to direct our thinking and help us walk in step with His Spirit. Sometimes He reveals His will through unusual events. But more often He opens and closes doors and His Spirit gives us discernment.
This episode proves the faithfulness of the LORD. Also it reveals how much God cares and listens to
His committed children. The story encourages all who want to really walk with God in their Christian endeavor.